“Kids are missing out in New Zealand because there’s no connect between the education system and a vision for where we’re going to grow our economy.” -Sir Paul Callaghan
### idealog.co.nz 18 October 2011 at 3:36 pm
Let’s end the flip-flopping on R&D
By Sarah Robson
What do Rakon, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Tait Electronics, Gallagher Group and Weta Digital have in common? Aside from being successful and enjoying a high profile in business, they’re also the benefactors of the government’s first round of technology development grants, announced late last year. (A second round was awarded in August, with recipients including accounting startup darling Xero.) National pulled no punches in scrapping the Labour government’s all-encompassing R&D tax credit in favour of a targeted, grant-based approach. It’s not a given – businesses have to apply for a slice of the funding pie along with every other man and his dog, and there are no guarantees. But it’s time for government to stop flip-flopping on the issue. Cuts to government spending aren’t going to lift New Zealand out of the economic doldrums. Investment in R&D just might.
Prominent scientist and New Zealander of the Year Sir Paul Callaghan believes New Zealand needs to diversify its economy if its goal is to expand GDP per capita, and start selling ‘brain content’. That means you’re selling products where the manufacturing costs aren’t the main costs of the products – it’s the R&D content.
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